Jonathan Small | December 18, 2018

Some pre-K teachers ‘feel like they work at a daycare’

Jonathan Small

Some pre-K teachers, busy with potty-training, ‘feel like they work at a daycare.’ Senate Bill 11 can help fix that​.

Hats off to state senator Greg McCortney from Ada who, as CNHI reporter Janelle Stecklein reports, “wants to change Oklahoma’s public school cutoff date so that some children must wait longer before enrolling in pre-K and kindergarten.”

Senate Bill 11 seeks to change the state’s long-held cutoff date from Sept. 1 to July 1. That means children would have to be at least 4 years old by July 1 rather than Sept. 1 to enroll in pre-K. They must be at least 5 by July 1 to enroll in kindergarten. …

“Every pre-K and kindergarten teacher thinks it’s the greatest idea that they’ve ever heard that doesn’t cost any money,” said state Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, who authored the measure. McCortney said children are showing up for their first couple of months of pre-K not potty-trained or short the maturity to learn or communicate. “This bill would give an extra three months of maturity to these kids that we’re starting in pre-K,” he said. “According to all the teachers I’ve talked to, those extra three months would make a huge difference.” …

Janel Manuel, a Byng Public Schools kindergarten teacher, said changing the cutoff has a real potential to help children. It will also benefit parents and teachers, she said. … “For my pre-K colleagues, they have students in pre-K that are not fully potty-trained yet, and our classrooms are not fully equipped with the needs to take care of potty training,” she said. Manuel said the measure is not about keeping children out of school but about making sure students are ready to be taught.

Sen. McCortney’s public-school bona fides are impeccable. His mother was a teacher and his father was a longtime school board member. His wife holds Parent-Teacher Organization leadership roles and their three children attend Ada Public Schools. He was endorsed by the Oklahoma Education Association.

What’s he trying to do is help children. “My biggest goal is to make sure that our kids have the best chance possible to succeed and, right now, we've got kids entering schools that aren't ready to learn,” he says. KFOR, the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City, reports: “McCortney said he's heard from many pre-K teachers in his hometown of Ada who feel like they work at a daycare instead of a school.”

This reform proposed by Sen. McCortney will also be yet another way to help teachers and should be commended and adopted.

Jonathan Small President

Jonathan Small


Jonathan Small, C.P.A., serves as President and joined the staff in December of 2010. Previously, Jonathan served as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma Office of State Finance, as a fiscal policy analyst and research analyst for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and as director of government affairs for the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Small’s work includes co-authoring “Economics 101” with Dr. Arthur Laffer and Dr. Wayne Winegarden, and his policy expertise has been referenced by The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, National Review, the L.A. Times, The Hill, the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post. His weekly column “Free Market Friday” is published by the Journal Record and syndicated in 27 markets. A recipient of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s prestigious Private Sector Member of the Year award, Small is nationally recognized for his work to promote free markets, limited government and innovative public policy reforms. Jonathan holds a B.A. in Accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a Certified Public Accountant.

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